The Pride of Lions

Improve your image, be seen with a LionThe strength of the pride is in the bonds of its members.

For members of the pride of Lions from Heidelberg High School, the bonds are strong.  Scattered around the world, we find other members and welcome them back into the group, typically through Facebook.  Our pride in our school and bonds with each other extend not only to fellow students and classmates in those grades with whom we may have shared classes, but to those Lions who came before and after us, as well as the faculty and staff of our beloved school.

What is it about HHS that makes our bond so tight?  Why is it that we’re willing to embrace fellow students from ten to 20 years earlier or later as if they were our peers?  It’s a puzzling question.  One that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I attended three different high schools.  First half of ninth grade at one, through the end of tenth at the next, and the last two at Heidelberg.  At the first, I am in touch (through FB) with about ten people who were my friends there (and during the previous two years during middle school) and I have no contact at all with anyone from my second high school.  My list of friends from HHS, though, is close to or greater than 200.

So, why is it that there are so many Lions on my list, many of whom share between 130 and 180 mutual friends?  I think a big part of it is that the majority of us are Army Brats, rounded out with dependents of Army civilians, contractors, and some foreign military, Canadians mostly, as I recall.  The “Army Brat” culture is a bond in itself, but now displace these kids and put them in a foreign country and that bond gets tighter…now they are “Overseas Brats.”  I don’t want to get off track discussing the Army Brat and Overseas Brat culture here, but they are integral to the bonding of the HHS family.

Heidelberg #1The other big factor in the HHS bond is Pride.  We loved our school and the Heidelberg community!  Years later, we still hit the school website and check Stars & Stripes news site to see what’s going on in our old stomping grounds and with our school and its sports teams.  We were all pleased to hear that the boys and girls basketball teams both took home European Championships this year, by the way.  We still buy HHS hoodies and t-shirts and such and wear them around.  We have planned mini-reunions multiple times a year at various locations around the U.S. and, of course, there are the reunions in Heidelberg –those that can’t make it eagerly await the pics of our friends and are green with envy.  We also have impromptu gatherings when one of us is heading somewhere for business or pleasure, we’ll send out a notification and Voila!  a gathering of Lions ensues.

I know this sounds like I’m just painting a rosy picture of our school and that we never had problems.  We did.  Just like any other school, we had our cliques, but we had a lot more “cross pollination” amongst those cliques than I saw at either of my other two schools.  Maybe it was because, as Army Brats, we’d grown up in varied places and learned to get along with lots of different people and cultures.  Maybe it was because we knew that if we got into really big problems, it could spill over into trouble for our parents or result in us being sent back to the States.  Whatever the reasons, as a rule, we just all got along better than normally seen in American high schools.

…and that has spilled over to our lives years after graduation.  We still love our school.  We miss Heidelberg.  We still have some semblances of the cliques, but we still cross-pollinate and chat and get together when we can.  We are saddened when we lose a member and we gladly welcome members into/back into the family when we find them.  Our Pride is strong and we work to keep it that way.

Heidelberg Schloss from across the Neckar

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2 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Lorwynd's Thoughts and commented:

    The pride of the Lions has not waned, but Uncle Sam has closed the doors to our school forever. For almost 70 years, HHS served the Army, DOD, and the United States by educating the children of its service members and civilians…as well as children of a few other nations who had parents assigned to posts at Heidelberg. Auf Wiedersehen!, HHS!

  2. […] It’s a sad time for many generations of students who walked the halls of Heidelberg High School.  In drawing down the force levels in Germany, the Army relocated the functions of the Heidelberg community.  As such, Heidelberg High School is closing its doors for good.  The large majority of Lions (our mascot) have fond memories and strong bonds with our fellow pride members and are deeply saddened by the cl0sing of our school.  I wrote a post about the unusual bond the we Lions share last year:  The Pride of Lions. […]

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